Testimonials


“Dance is a sacred journey of the soul.” ~Farima Berenji

Testimonials

“Farima is the best kept secret in San Francisco.”
Joe Garage – San Francisco, CA
“Farima Berenji was excellent! She sprinkled [herself] throughout the building. Through holes in the curtains, we all become willing voyeurs as we peek at the king and his companion of the evening.”
Allan Ulrich – San Francisco Chronicle Correspondent, CA, on Layla Means Night
“For almost 30 years I’ve studied Arabic styles of dance and saw elements of Persian dance adopted into the lexicon. The Persian moves and hand gestures were some of my favorites. When I heard that there were workshops in Persian dance being offered in Anchorage, I jumped at the chance to attend, even though Anchorage is almost 400 miles away. I knew most of the Alaskan dancers in the Simorgh collective before I joined and I’m happy to finally have a venue where I can collaborate with them, despite most of them living so far away. I’m also looking forward to meeting other dance troupes in the collective, from other cities and countries, and dancing with them.”
Terri Massa – Fairbanks, AK
“I went to my first class and loved it! Farima was very kind, supportive, and helpful. I have always enjoyed folk dances and learning dances from different cultures, and this is a cultural dance that I have never experienced or even knew about. Farima is gentle given my age and the lack of agility, she allows me dance with my own limits. I was taken by a pleasant surprise when our class became a performing arts class. The costumes we are able to create are beautiful and elegant.”
Sandra Daniels – San Jose, CA
“Dance and art has always been my passion. And I found my passion in Farima’s classes. One thing that differentiates the Farima Dance Company from other Persian dance institutes is that the history and origin of each dance is taught besides the actual dance. It’s a full mind, body, and spiritual journey through the history of Silk Road. I am always inspired by Farima’s dedication to keep the history and ancient cultures alive. She created the Simorgh Dance Collective, that brings people from around the world together to create a community and share the same passion and value about the ancient cultures, and willing to share and pass them on to others. Being a member and a certified dance instructor of the Farima Dance Company, I’m proud to be part of this great mission!”
Haydeh Keramat – San Jose, CA
“Thank you again for such a thoughtful, helpful, and inspiring lesson. I’ll do my best to live up to your teaching.”
Margaret McKibben – Seattle, WA
“Thank you for showing us how beautiful life can be.”
David Lang – Comox, British Columbia
“Farima’s super-fun workshops and teachings change lives!”
Thespinjinny – Canada
“Thank you Farima Berenji for all the knowledge you shared.”
Al Garmon – Seattle, WA
“A big thank you for the magical, unforgettable experience…”
Erdal Akçora‎ – Manchester, UK
“You are a beautiful and bright spirit. So very grateful for the opportunity to study with you.”
Sumaya Lea – Kentucky
“I am so inspired and uplifted by the whole event. Farima is just wow! Thank you!”
Bri Hurley – Czech Republic
“Thank you so much for such a great workshop! You are an amazingly beautiful performer, instructor, and person. Thank you!!”
Tiffany – Kentucky
“Thank you for such a wonderful weekend! My soul is full of whirling flowers.”
Jessica Macpherson – Comox, BC
“You have a melting heart you serve others with…a brilliant light you radiate. I really want to join and be a part of your sacred space of healing. Thank you sister.”
Yosra Sana Sol Solena – unknown
“Thank you Farima Berenji, High Priestess of Persian Sacred Dance, and everyone who joined and shared their energy. It was moving beyond words for me to be reconnected to the dances of my ancestry.”
Roshanak Ghanaian – Comox, BC
“We are positively blessed to have such an opportunity to study with Farima!! I can’t wait.. Hope to see many people out sharing our beautiful Farima’s dance magic.”
Hilberry Clan – Comox, BC
“Thank you, the strong, independent, inspirational woman you are! [For] empowering your community and lifting the spirits of so many.”
Stizmir Smyrna – Turkey
“I cannot put the concert from tonight in words. Emotional, full of energy, oneness and beauty. Especially the last two songs and Farima’s powerful and emotional Sufi whirling left me so affected. I am still shaking from the energy. Will never forget this concert. Thank you again and I hope there will be many more.”
Meral Ozturk – Manchester, England, on Seven Cities of Love
“I don’t have the words to express my feelings about the magic we all created together last weekend. It was out of this world. I would like to thank you for coming to Manchester again and being our guide through the Seven Cities of Love. You brought beauty, wisdom and joy to our city and our hearts. Here are two questions for the universe to answer: ‘What else is possible?’ and ‘How does it get any better than this?’

We loved every second of it! It passed too quickly. Still receiving amazing feedback of the lectures, concert, and workshop. Thank you for coming to Manchester and touching our hearts so beautifully. We love you!”
Gulcin Ulas Bulut – Manchester, UK

“The weekend was all beauty, harmony, and unification. Thank you Farima for coming and thank you for all of the beauty you created and shared. And thank you to Gulcin, who made it all possible .. who was guided by her heart into creating the Seven Cities of Love festival whethank you to everyone involved.”
Pasha A Ab – Manchester, UK
“Beautiful! I really enjoyed the concert on Saturday evening. It was mesmerising… Farima, you’re amazing and I loved all your beautiful outfits. Thank you for a wonderful evening. I take away with me such lovely memories.”
Bita Babai – Manchester, UK
“What a great night, everybody has been touched deeply and have felt the music deep inside. And my daughter was the happiest girl in the world to meet her favourite dancer Farima Berenji again.”
Serap Adair‎ – Manchester, UK
“The combination of all the artists the music and the dance was so connected on a ethereal level I could feel the energy transforming my DNA. I cannot put into words how I felt for every city [level] that we moved with its vibration left me astounded as I journeyed through theadd_filter( ‘tribe-events-bar-should-show’, ‘__return_false’, 9999 ); varying emotions and dimensions guided by the Divine every step of the way. This concert will always be etched in the depths of my soul, for what my soul remembers can never be forgotten. Thank you all the wonderful artists and the organisers for the creation and delivery of this exceptional concert.”
Mumtaz Sodha – Manchester, England, on Seven Cities of Love
“Thank you to Farima for coming to Florida and sharing your wealth of knowledge with us! I learned so much about the dances of Persia from your amazing workshop and it was such an honor to dance with you! Hope you will return soon”
Astarte MoonDancer – Florida
“Big thanks to all the beautiful dancers who took part at the Norooz celebration! Thank you, beautiful Farima Berenji for an amazing workshop and fabulous performance! We appreciated that you accepted our invitation and came to Brno! You were the most beautiful flower of our event! Thank you!”
Světlana Synáková – Brno, Czech Republic
“I’ve taken dance classes with Farima for a few years. She has taught us a variety of styles, including classical and modern Persian dance, Azeri dance, Bandari dance, Kurdish dance, as well as many other styles. Farima knows a lot about these and other dance styles. Farima has also taught us about music, clothing, and other cultural information. I have enjoyed learning from Farima as well as dancing with her.”
Dawn Imada – San Jose, CA
“I attended a Persian Dance Workshop this weekend along with poetry, live music, and some performances. We practiced Sufi whirling. It was truly a magical experience. With the help and guidance of Farima Berenji, I was able to whirl quite comfortably for much longer than I thought I would be able to. And it felt so good.”

“The Friday evening Sema gathering was incredible. The Saturday Sacred Dance ‘Mystified’ workshop was truly enjoyable. I loved the concept of spirit meeting human. And I loved learning more about the seven sacred animals. It was a remarkable Friday evening Sema gathering and Saturday workshop with Farima Berenji. Thank you.”
Elizabeth Smith – Canada

“I went up those ODC stairs that evening during that ‘Layla’ performance and saw you spinning in that room within a room Ms. Farima. I saw a lot more there than I realized… It was not just a body dancing, it was spirit, a force. I could feel your story. Someday, when I hit the lottery and have lots of money for the arts – I want to turn your story into a movie.”
Name withheld – San Francisco, CA
“Wonderful, wonderful show by ALL performers!! The audience was very happy. The ballerinas were simply gorgeous and at moments dancers like Suzi, Farima, Ms. Kwan and the others in Kathy Mata Ballet—were as beautiful as any female dancers in big companies such as SF Ballet. Seriously. They remind me the gift of sight should not be taken lightly!!”
Bay Area Dance Watch – San Francisco, CA
“Farima, I came to your show a while ago. I did not know you but I was crying when I met you. I had no idea what the show was. My friend mentioned music and did not mention the dance. I saw the beauty of my dream realized before my eyes, when my soul was filled with doubt and fear. I saw beauty before me and believed that ‘maybe I could do my own dance too’ That is why you are my inspiration. Because you are realizing your dreams through dance, I saw your love stories, I saw your pain, I saw your strength. Thank you sweet soul. Much love my soul sister.”
Name withheld – San Francisco, CA, on Dance and Diaspora
“Ms. Farima, you have been a big inspiration to me and your work has encouraged me to grow in my dance. You are full of light. Thank you for keeping our history alive and showing the world the beauty of Iranian culture. I wish more Iranians in Iran would learn from you to keep these dances alive and save our history. Our generation has changed and I fear that our dances will vanish but your work inspires me to help keep them alive. I have never met you in person but I always see your videos and pictures and hear about you and try to follow your work. I hope to meet you one day and to tell you thank you from my heart. You make me proud to be Iranian.”
Name withheld – Iran
“I did not realize until this day that through dance I could be a bird or a flower or whatever beautiful creature I would like to be. Farima says, ‘You are a bird looking for food,’ when something suddenly happens, birds are astonished and make head movements with astonished eyes, birds are so beautiful and their movements so subtle and light that Mid-Asians have been inspired by them to create their traditional dances. It’s not at all bizarre that after Farima’s dance teaching you feel flying like a bird. You look around on the street—people are the same, but you… You are transformed into a bird! Yes, tonight I decided to be a bird, I feel I’m flying somewhere and feel astonished by all the things happening around… Let’s let in more dance into our lives! Thank you Farima again for having made my day special and thank you for the nice circle where you patiently told us by words the history and metaphors of some dances—the circle was just magic. We come from India, Argentina, Iran, San Francisco, Turkey, Crimea, Republic of Tatarstan, Tunisia, Morocco, and Swizerland. What a beautiful World we are living in if we just wanted and what a meaningful reflection is Farima’s to have said that we had to preserve dances and keep on teaching them … to preserve a culture and protect it from vanishment, in a world where nonsense wars tend to destroy and annihilate what we have inherited… from our ancestors. I naively wonder why should there be wars and suffering when we can actually DANCE?”
Emna Jamoussi – Istanbul, Turkey
“Spent a glorious weekend immersed in the rich culture, history, mythology, folklore, arts, poetry, music and dance of Persia. Talk about BEAUTY of epic proportions! Mind is full. Body exhausted. Imagination sparking with all of the creative possibilities of the Silk Road. So much to learn! So happy to have found a teacher in Farima.”

“Facing a week of my favorite things. Band practice today. Flamenco Tuesday. Silk Road dance lecture Thursday. Dervish whirling Friday. Persian dance immersion Saturday. Afghani dance immersion Saturday. Semi-private lesson on playing and dancing with a daf on Monday. Can’t wait to move and sweat and stretch with my favorite dance ethnologist Farima! YES, PLEASE!”
Melissa Wanamaker – Anchorage, AK

“OMG…what a weekend this was! Drove to Seattle on Saturday and performed at the Turkish Festival both doing solo pieces and then a dervish whirling duet with the amazing Farima Berenji. Sunday, I had the pleasure of being able to attend Farima’s dance workshops. Again I am saying how amazing this woman is. She not only is a fabulous Persian and Azeri dance teacher and performer, she is also an archaeologist who has been specializing in uncovering and reviving the very ancient roots of dance and it’s uses in various religions and spiritual paths. For anyone who might have an impression that Persian dance is somehow rigid and thoroughly choreographed, she brings us all to a time before choreography existed and dance was done solely from inspiration and from the Heart. Thank you Farima for what you are doing in this world…I love seeing what happens in people when they are around you…in myself as well…Keep being so wonderful!”
Alfredo Gormezano – Seattle, WA
“From the moment our 2 day workshop of the Silk Road started, Farmia was on fire. She showed us all the various dance styles from the Bandari to Peacock and Hummingbird to the traditional Kurdish and Gilaki styles. In addition, she explained the history behind each style. There was so much to learn in those two workshops. Her dancing took my breath away. She is such a beautiful eloquent dancer, who dances like a feather in the wind. She was born to dance, a patient angel teaching us her talent. When you leave her workshop, you will feel rejuvenated. No need to spend a large amount of money on those motivational workshops, just take Farima’s class instead. I wish she would move to Anchorage but understand her home base is in the warmer region of California.”
Maryam – Anchorage, AK
“The peacock is haunting me after you came here. As a Sufi you shine in the darkness like this peacock. The workshops brought an extraordinary experience for the Seattle dancers who are Persian specialists always looking deeper into dance. Farima Berenji answered many questions we had in Persian dances, such as its roots, which stems out from natural elements, animals and ancient Zoroastrian worship and rituals. Moreover, Farima demonstrated perfectly to us how we should apply this wealth of Persian and Azerbaijan dance onto today’s higher-tech-staging by dancing gorgeously at the TurkFest in Seattle, Washington. Farima is serving definitely as one of the major axes in today’s world with authentic knowledge, movement, and expression of Persian and Azeri dances and culture.”
Emiko – Seattle, WA
“I was so graced to have taken Farima’s ‘Dances of Persia and the Silk Road’ 2 day intensive at Temple Goddess in Tarpon Springs Florida. It was one of the most amazing workshops I have ever taken. I have been belly dancing for 13 years and when I was first learning I did some Persian dance with my first teacher, and I was surprised how easily I was able to get right back into it. Farima is the largest reason I was able to just float into this beautiful dance. Listening to the history and the dichotomy of the mysticism and the scientific really spoke to me. I really enjoy learning many different things about other cultures but also the scientific and sociological aspects as well. It was wholly fascinating on an intellectual level, as well as dance. I was just blown away. Farima has this way about her where she can be going over thousands of years worth of history AND dance AND keep it from sounding like a lecture or a hard core ballet class. There is fun, smiles, and you start to retain the information more quickly by the way she has developed such an interactive and invigorating teaching style.

The first day was a 4 hour intensive on Persian classical, and even as it was difficult in places, you never felt tired, or frustrated, none of that. Farima always kept things moving and flowing so that even if I didn’t get the moves right away, I still felt like I was dancing with the true heart and spirit of the Persian classical. The other thing that I particularly enjoyed was the time for experimentation. It was not just step 2-3-4, turn, pose, or etc; Farima would put on music and allow the students to just move with it to FEEL it. Let us use our bodies and the movements we had learned to truly dance to it in a way I feel is most authentic. More so then just teaching choreography, history and culture, it was about heart and spirit. The Folkloric styles were for 4 hours the next day, and again I was completely and totally enamored with the culture and the people, the history, and the heart of the people whose dances we were practicing and learning. I can remember distinctly the Rice Dance in particular, It sort of made me laugh how they would bounce their babies on their lower backs, and it made me smile, watching Farima’s expressions in the mirror, I really felt as if we were just a regular group of women in the rice fields dancing and laughing, and just the true Persian folkloric style. It really felt as if we were there. Farima was also very generous with letting people blossom and experiment. If you wanted to do a solo, she encouraged it. To just allow us to completely immerse ourselves in every aspect of the dance and a way of life.

Of all the master classes and workshops I have ever taken, I have never been transported back to another time or place. Farima is able to take you to the temple of Anahita, flutter your wings and tail feathers like a great peacock, let you feel the thunder of horses riding into battle with Artemesia, see the lovely Simorgh flying overhead, and even pick rice in the fields with the women who still do that until this day. A teacher like that is a true gift and you can see in Farima’s heart and soul that she lives and breathes dance, and her ability to take others on this wonderful full body, mind and spirit dance journey is remarkable. Her passion, her knowledge, just everything about Farima makes taking any workshops, classes, even just a single lesson a whole and complete experience that I for one will never forget. She has so inspired me that I have started practicing Persian dance, so that I can continue to walk through the doors Farima has opened for me.”
Lyssa Poole – Tampa, FL

“I just had a class with you a couple weeks ago. I was the only boy in the class so I’m sure you remember me. I just wanted to say thank you so much for everything! Your class literally changed me. I remember you said to ask our sacred ancestors for what we wish during the class and I asked my grandma, the ancestor I was trying to contact, to take all my insecurities and negative thoughts away…It worked. I’ve never been happier and more comfortable in my body. Your class really changed me and I wanted to thank you for that. You truly are an inspiration.”
Eric – Los Angeles, CA
“For beginners, this is a fine introduction to learn the dances of Iran and Central Asia. Based on Farima’s amazing ability and expertise in these dances, intermediate and accomplished dancers with some basic ballet will also benefit. Until introduced to her class, I never knew of these dances nor found an instructor that could interest me in them. Now I’ve grown to appreciate their beauty and ages old culture. Farima demonstrates figures very thoroughly and we practice moves multiple times all to beautiful music of the region. The student need not progress further but is encouraged to learn a group choreography. Students participate in more skillful dances as they progress. Farima encourages her students to perform in costume with her at various cultural events or festivals. This is a valuable experience for any would-be performer.”
Kevin Greek – San Jose, CA